Field to Market Assessments to Improve Efficiency
Please contact the Extension Educator listed for each site to preregister by Dec. 3.
Monday, December 7, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
UNL Extension Office in Lancaster County, 444 Cherrycreek Road
Contact: Tyler Williams, (402) 441-7180 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, December 7, 5:30 – 9 p.m.
UNL Extension Office in Gage County, 1115 West Scott St.
Contact: Paul Hay, (402) 223-1384 or email@example.com
Tuesday, December 8, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Nemaha County Hospital Meeting Room, 2022 13th St.
Contact: Gary Lesoing, (402) 274-4755 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, Dec. 8, 5:30 – 9 p.m. UNL Extension Office in Fillmore County, 1340 G St.
Contact: Brandy VanDeWalle, (402) 759-3712 or email@example.com
Wednesday, Dec. 9, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
UNL Extension Office in Clay County, 111 West Fairfield Contact: Jennifer Rees, (402) 762-3644 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, Dec. 9, 5:30 – 9 p.m.
UNL Extension Office in Merrick County, 1510 18th St.
Contact: Troy Ingram, (308) 946-3843 or email@example.com
Thursday, Dec. 10, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. UNL Extension Office in Dodge County, 1206 West 23rd St.
Contact: Nathan Mueller, (402) 727-2775 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, Dec. 11, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
UNL Extension Office in Saunders County, 1071 County Road G
Contact: Keith Glewen, (402) 624-8030 or email@example.com
“Sustainability is sometimes like the weather, a lot of talk, but we don’t always know what to do about it,” says Charles Shapiro, UNL Professor in Agronomy and Horticulture. While sustainability can be discussed for a long time, efficiency can be measured.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in cooperation with the Corn and Soybean Boards is conducting workshops to introduce Nebraska corn and soybean producers to a tool that measures key farm efficiencies. Field to Market Efficiency Workshops will be held at eight sites Dec. 7-11 to teach farmers how to use a web-based computer tool called the Fieldprint® Calculator.
Rick Koelsch, Nebraska Extension associate dean, said “This is not your grandfather’s definition of “sustainable agriculture.” The tool rewards farms focused on efficient use of inputs, productivity, and sound stewardship practices as “environmentally sustainable.” It provides an opportunity for farmers to assess how their farm measures up.
“Fieldprints can help growers to establish benchmark data on a field and track improvements over time, set energy-saving and efficiency goals and compare performance against local, state and national benchmarks,” said Extension Educator Randy Pryor.
Most of the major grain buyers and companies using feed grains in food are reporting ways they are becoming more resourceful with energy, water, raw materials, and product waste streams. The consumer is asking these companies to improve the efficiency of producing and bringing their products to market. The Nebraska Corn and Soybean Boards are interested in making their commodities as efficient as possible to improve these indicators. Extension has learned through previous workshops that many of these environmental indicators can be improved by implementing best management practices already developed.
This is a win-win situation for farmers since one measure of sustainability is leaving their farm and natural resources in better condition than when they started plus make a profit. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension has an interest in sustainable measures and science-based, outcome-focused metrics for efficiency gains in agriculture.
The field assessment workshops in Nebraska are hands-on and will show growers how to document eight sustainability and efficiency indicators via use of a laptop computer. The indicators are:
- land use,
- soil carbon,
- irrigation water use,
- water quality,
- energy use,
- greenhouse gas emissions, and
- water quality.
Participants will select a representative corn or soybean field for 2015 and complete a data input sheet in advance of the Fieldprint® Calculator workshops. Meals and workshop materials are sponsored through a Nebraska Extension Innovation grant and funding from the Nebraska Corn and Soybean Boards. Computer laptops are provided or participants can bring your own. No prior computer knowledge is necessary and experienced users will be available to provide assistance.
Pre-registration is required by Thursday, December 3. For more information about the program or to pre-register contact a host Extension office. Participants from 2014 workshops are invited back to review outcomes from last year’s workshops and complete another cropping sequence.
“We want growers in Nebraska to be better able to understand and communicate how management choices affect overall sustainability performance and operational efficiency of their farm operations, and also be prepared for any new supply chain initiatives in the food sector that could emerge,” Pryor said.